Ben Rawlence



Afternoon Session

16.10on The Black Mountains College”

Ben Rawlence


Award-winning writer, activist, former speech writer to Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy and co-founder.

Ben wrote two books about the human consequences of environmental catastrophe in Africa: Radio Congo about the people living in the wreck-age of Eastern Congo’s resource wars and City of Thorns– about people fleeing famine and climate-driven war in the Horn of Africa.

After moving to Wales and beginning to research the coming impacts of climate change closer to home, his attention turned to the Arctic Circle and the boreal forest. What he discovered led to his third book: The Treeline and to a dawning realisation that we needed to prepare – and soon – for major changes to our ways of life. And to do that, we need new institutions that promote new ways of thinking and learning, new ways of seeing ourselves and new ways of interacting with the non-human world. Black Mountains College is committed to that task.


Black Mountains College offers short courses, vocational training and a unique undergraduate programme all geared towards climate action and adaptation.

We are about to launch our single BA (Hons) degree programme – Sustainable Futures: Arts, Ecology and Systems Change. It is an interdisciplinary programme combining a grounding in theories of change, creative practice based on artistic methods, ecological thinking, political economy and sociotechnical systems.

We offer one degree designed and taught by academic tutors at the forefront of their fields, using the best evidence-based approaches in how humans learn: outdoors in nature, with all their senses, in small groups and on applied projects.

The foundation of the BMC degree is learning how to learn about the natural world and human society to become an agent of change. We aim to foster confidence, creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence. We encourage the ability to communicate and collaborate to imagine – and deliver- far-reaching changes to current systems.